Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes must solve tyre problem quickly to challenge Vettel

While Hamilton scrapped in the midfield, team-mate Valtteri Bottas finished fourth with the Finn able to push harder on his tyres.

Lewis Hamilton was emphatic in the aftermath of the Monaco Grand Prix.

With leads in both the Drivers' and Constructors' Championships one third of the way through the season, Ferrari are beginning to look increasingly formidable in their attempt to win a first world title in nine years.

Vettel started a close second and followed his teammate while keeping Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas in third place. "So they are going to be pushing everything to make sure Sebastian will maximise on all of his weekends".

Also, the Italian team put down the first win in Monaco after 16 years, but for some media it is controversial.

'It's not a happy vehicle at the moment, ' admitted Hamilton. I don't now feel that we have to favour one over the other.

The last time Raikkonen took the top spot here, in 2005 for McLaren, he went on to lead every lap on his way to winning the race.

Only Michael Schumacher has more than the Briton's five wins in Montreal and Hamilton is eager to add to his tally.

That he is making such cryptic comments just six races into the 20-race season may not bode well for Ferrari as it tries to end three straight years of total Mercedes domination.

It is the second race weekend this season that Hamilton has failed to finish on the podium - while Vettel has finished no lower than second in 2017 - following the Briton's uncharacteristically below-par display in Russian Federation.

"We still came away from here with some points".

"We are a team and if you don't believe what you have been told then it will get very complicated at some point", Raikkonen said.

"There might be some things along the way that position-wise, at some stage, might become valuable, but who knows what is going to happen".

The Dutchman was decidedly unimpressed, launching an expletive-laden response over team radio and was further frustrated by spending the rest of the race tucked behind Bottas' Mercedes as overtaking predictably proved a near-impossible task around Monte Carlo's mean streets.

"I knew that if I have any chance that might be it until I get the call because Valtteri was on fresh tires so it's likely that he will go quicker, so I just tried to push as hard as I can and wait for the call to box".

Raikkonen was stoney-faced and more taciturn than usual when retired 2016 champion Nico Rosberg interviewed him by the podium.

But Raikkonen saw nothing to smile about and the question being asked elsewhere was whether Ferrari had manipulated the pitstops to ensure Vettel got ahead.

"So yes, we are the underdog and we need to catch up. And this is the new reality at the moment".

  • Julie Sanders